Sunday, April 07, 2013

More bananas and fewer crisps can help ward off strokes, say scientists

There are actually two studies covered in the article below so I will comment on them separately:

The potassium study below found a slight reduction in blood pressure (well within normal daily variation) from high potassium intake but no effect on heart disease.  There was however a small reduction in stroke.  Overall, nothing to get your potassium up about

Eating more bananas – and cutting down on crisps – could prevent thousands of stroke deaths, say researchers.  The potassium-rich fruit helps drive down blood pressure levels, as does lowering your salt consumption in snacks like crisps.

A study ["Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses"] found people with a high potassium intake had 24 per cent less risk of stroke.

Previous data suggested older people could be harmed by potassium as their kidneys may be less able to remove it from their blood.

But the research, on journal website, said these fears can be dismissed. It found potassium did not negatively affect kidney function.

The authors said there was ‘high quality  evidence’ that people with high blood  pressure improved when they increased their potassium intake.

They analysed 128,000 people over 33 trials and said consuming more of the mineral, for example by eating bananas, is ‘potentially beneficial to most people’.

Bananas are one of the most common foods to be rich in potassium. Each one contains around 420mg, well on the way to the daily adult allowance of 3,500mg.

There are around 53,000 deaths in the UK each year from stroke, with a further 100,000 survivors, some left with severe disability.


Another study on the website ["Effect of longer term modest salt reduction on blood pressure: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials"] found slightly reducing salt intake for four weeks or more led to a significant fall in blood pressure – and so reduced risk of stroke and heart attack.

The study showed small effects that were important only when averaged out across whole populations and the typically 4-week duration of the trials precluded any finding about effects on mortality.  Since reduced salt consumption has been shown elsewhere to INCREASE mortality, this study was too busy looking at the wood to see the trees

Dr Clare Walton of the Stroke Association said a healthy diet was a key part of managing stroke risk.  She said: ‘High blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor for stroke. Making changes to your diet can go a long way to keeping blood pressure under control.

‘This research suggests that reducing your salt intake and eating more potassium-rich foods such as bananas, dates and spinach could keep your risk down.’

The Department of Health advises older people should not take potassium supplements unless advised by a doctor.


1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

Kiwi fruit has more than banannas!